ARTICLES by Dr K Rajeshwari

  • http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/missed-call-marketing-taken-hold-india
  • How cooking as a consumption practice helps resolve value conflicts, Association of Consumer Research, Baltimore, Oct 2014
  • New Product development-Researches done in consumer packaged industry, NASMEI International Marketing Conference-Great Lakes Institute of Management , Chennai, Dec 2012.
  • Research Gaps in the area of new product development in consumer packaged goods industry, PESIT/ Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Bangalore, Nov 2012.
  • Never Innovate to compete rather innovate to change the rules of the game, Emerald Emerging Markets Studies. (Published 2011, DOI : 10.1108/ 20450621211306584 ).
  • New Product development-What is the right eco-system ,NASMEI International Marketing Conference-Great Lakes Institute of Management , Chennai, Dec 2010.
  • Painting a perfect picture”. IBS Case Centre (ICFAI). Case code: CLMM116 pp. 1-5 (2016)
  • “Starbucks in India”. Journal of Case studies, Vol. 34, Issue 2, Nov. 2016
  • “Nex Gen Stage Gate NPD Process in an Entrepreneurial Company.International Journal of Innovation, Management and Technology (ISSN: 2010-0248, DOI: 10.18178/IJIMT), Oct 2016.
  • "Modified Stage Gate process in an entrepreneurial company.ISPIM Innovation Conference in Portugal, 2016
  • Gate governance in Stage Gate new product development process. NASMEI, Dec 2016

Luxury Watches

LUXURY WATCHES – My articles in the Hindu Business Line



Rajeshwari articlesARTICLE NO. 1

The Hindu Business Line
Mar 29th 2010

It’s time for Tissot’s first billion
Positioned as a leader in affordable luxury, this Swiss brand has managed to buck the worldwide slowdown in watch sales..
Pradipta K. Mohapatra
K. Rajeshwari

(The writer, a horologist, represented The Hindu Business Line at Baselworld. Prof. K. Rajeshwari is from the Chennai Business School.)
Like other illustrious watch brands from the Swiss and Japanese stables, Tissot is readying for the big league of being a billion-dollar watch brand
Creating a billion-dollar watch brand is not easy. That is why there are so few, four to be precise: Rolex, Swatch, Omega and Seiko. One can say with reasonable certainty that the next billion-dollar brand will be Tissot and that it will happen in 2010.

The year 2009 was brutal for the Swiss watch industry. Revenues dropped 21.3 per cent. The fall was sharpest in the $435–$2,600 category where turnover dropped by 30 per cent. It is believed that the world’s largest selling brand Rolex, with revenues of over $3 billion, fell by 35 per cent. Omega, Longines, Rado, Seiko, Citizen and every other prominent brand lost revenue in 2009.

In a commendable feat, the only large watch company in the world that increased both volume sales and revenue was Tissot. Tissot’s volume sales grew by 2 per cent to 2.21 million watches and its revenue by 4 per cent. What makes Tissot the growth engine that it is? At Baselworld last week, Francois Thiebaud, President of Tissot, and member of the Swatch group management board, spoke to Pradipta Mohapatra.

Steady growth
Tissot’s growth to become the largest selling Swiss brand in the affordable luxury category is not a flash in the pan. The year 2009 was its 14 {+t} {+h} consecutive year of growth! In some ways, its growth philosophy seems to represent what Abraham Lincoln said, “I walk slowly but I walk forward – I can’t remember even when I walked backward.”

Last year, Tissot emerged as the largest selling brand in its home market (2009 sales 1,52,000 numbers). It is also the largest selling Swiss watch brand in both China (2009 sales 2,00,000 pieces) and India (2009 estimated 30,000 pieces). In 2009, the average selling price of a Tissot watch was 430 Swiss francs (around Rs 18,300). At a volume of 2.21 million the revenue is pretty close to $1 billion, inches away from becoming a billion-dollar brand.

Innovation
Throughout its long history of 157 years, Tissot has been known to be a great innovator. The first pocket watch with two time zones was introduced by Tissot in 1853. The first Formula One watch in 1916, first anti-magnetic watch in 1930, the first world time navigator watch in 1953 were all innovations from Tissot. Its line of T-Touch watches, introduced 11 years ago, has been seen as a technology marvel all these years.
Tissot also was a great innovator in materials of construction. It experimented with the first plastic case (which was later popularised by Swatch), rock, wood and pearl. Tissot also uses titanium extensively in its T-Touch range of watches.

Distribution
Available at 16,000 retail distribution points in the world, Tissot’s distribution spread is unmatched by any other Swiss watch company. The widest distribution for its position as a leader in affordable luxury is the hallmark of Tissot in every market that it enters. It has the largest number of retail outlets in China and has now penetrated beyond the Swiss boutiques in India. Tissot is the only brand that competes head-to-head with high-end Titan watches in India.

Product Positioning
Tissot has immense clarity in positioning of all its products. In a recent interview to Financial Times, London, Thiebaud described Seiko and Citizen as the two worldwide competing brands with Tissot. It is, therefore, not surprising that to remain competitive with the Japanese brands, 80 per cent of Tissot’s products are quartz. Only 20 per cent form mechanical or automatic watches at the higher end of the market.

Low Cost
Tissot’s worldwide motto is “best value for money”. It implies adherence to low costs. Tissot’s statistics in some of the markets is remarkable.
In 2009, Tissot’s sales in China was 500 million RMB. Its cost of promotion was a mere 10 million RMB. With advertising costs at 2 per cent, Tissot probably spends the least amount in promotion costs compared to industry peers.

However, Tissot operates through many low-cost promotion vehicles by supporting lesser known sports events such as the world championship of fencing, cycling, hockey and Moto GP. Tissot also uses local brand ambassadors. Its Chinese brand ambassador Barbie Xu has made a huge impact in the Asian region.

Finally, Tissot operates in 150 countries. Therefore, its dependence on markets such as the US was only 8 per cent in 2009. Therefore, while the US market went through a bloodbath in 2009, it barely had any impact on Tissot.

It is said that barely five years after incorporation, the Tissot founder’s son, Charles Emile Tissot, left Switzerland for Russia and successfully sold Tissot ‘Savonnette’ pocket watches across this huge and influential empire. Fiesty Frenchman Francois Thiebaud, sitting at the helm of affairs at Tissot for the last decade-and-a-half, is following Tissot’s spirit.

It has taken planning, positioning, technology and distribution for Tissot to reach where it is today.

Only a billion-dollar revenue will be a fitting reward for Thiebaud.



ARTICLE NO. 2

The Hindu Business Line
Thursday March 25th 2010

Despite the times, Baselworld retains its shine

Luxury watchmakers, jewellers turn out in force at the annual event..

Pradipta K. Mohapatra
(The writer, a horologist, represented The Hindu Business Line at Baselworld. This article has been written with research support by Prof. K. Rajeswari of the Chennai Business School.)

Baselworld, the world’s largest exhibition and trade fair devoted to watches and jewellery, opened last week in the backdrop of a tough year for the watch industry in Switzerland and across the globe.

In 2009 the Swiss watch industry witnessed a 22.3 per cent fall in revenue. Many global brands were brought to their knees with sales down about 35 per cent. Notwithstanding the sombre mood, the general attitude at the fair was that “the show must go on”.

The Basel fair’s history goes back to 1917 when it was started by a Swiss exhibition authority called MUBA. It was in 1925 that watches were included in the fair and in 1931 that it became an exclusively Swiss watch show.

It was only in 1972 that France, Italy, Germany and the UK were roped in as exhibitors alongside Swiss watchmakers. In 1999, the exhibition was re-branded Baselworld and became a worldwide event for watches and jewellery.

Baselworld 2010, spread over six exhibition halls occupying some 1.6 lakh sq. mt of space, has over 2,100 exhibitors from 45 countries and was expected to draw over one lakh visitors.

Big and small Swiss watch brands have a presence at the show. Two iconic brands — Rolex and Patek Philippe — dominate the entrance to Hall 1 (called the Hall of Dreams). The largest portion of this hall is occupied by Swatch Group brands such as Omega, Longines, Tissot, Rado, Breguet, Blancpain, Certina, CK and Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co is the latest acquisition of the Swatch Group and is overseen by Nyla Hayek. And what is the Swatch Founder and CEO, Nicolas Hayek, doing? Well, he has decided to personally oversee Jaquet Droz in addition to Breguet!

Only two non-Swiss companies have been given the privilege of exhibiting in Hall 1 — Seiko and Citizen. Quite an honour!
Shinji Hattori, CEO, Seiko, and great grandson of the Seiko founder, was personally present to speak to guests. He also released the Astron 40, a limited edition replica of Astron — the world’s first quartz watch launched in 1969 — to commemorate 40 years of quartz technology.

Indian presence
India is a strong participant at Baselworld 2010 with 34 jewellery manufacturers exhibiting their products under the aegis of the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council. Also visible are Indian retailers of Swiss watches, journalists and the media. For the first time, Indian television is represented by a three-member team from NDTV Good Times.

While India is still seen as a small market for Swiss watches, in 2009 sales grew at an annualised rate of 25 per cent valued at around $250 million.

Many analysts expect the Indian market to grow into a $1-billion market over the next 10 years.

Not surprisingly, Indian visitors are being given an effusive welcome at the show!

One also caught a glimpse of the Swiss caste system at play at the fair — the Indian, Chinese and Thai jewellery and watches manufacturers were dispatched to Hall 6, which is two tram stops away from the scene of action.

Hall 6 can be viewed as the Poor Man’s Baselworld. None of the glitz of Hall 1 here, nor the customers! On the second day of the fair, the Indian exhibitors were still awaiting their first customer!

The Swiss watch industry suffered a major blow in 2009 with sales dropping by 22.3 per cent to 13.2 billion Swiss Francs (SFR). With the global sales volume dropping below the 2006 figures, Asia has emerged as the new saviour.

Clocking 6.3 billion SFR in 2009, the Asian market accounted for 48 per cent of the world market. The US, representing 11.1 per cent of the market, declined by 37.9 per cent.

Despite the fall, the Swiss watch industry valued at $12 billion remained at the number one position, followed by Hong Kong ($5.6 billion) and China ($2.5 billion), ahead of Japan. It may be noted that while the average price of watches exported from China is $2, the average price for a Swiss watch is a whopping $528. There was, of course, a silver lining for some individual Swiss manufacturers. Swatch group, the number one watch manufacturing group in the world, witnessed a revenue fall of only 6.1 per cent.

The recession has opened up opportunities for two other Swiss brands. Rolex, which has recorded a significant revenue drop because of its dependence on the American market, may find a new contender for the number one brand position in Omega. Tissot, another Swatch group brand, has emerged as the number one watchmaker in volume terms. It also posted a miraculous growth in revenue of 4 per cent — probably the only large watch brand that has shown a growth in revenue.


 


ARTICLE NO. 3

 

CSR in India- how to reach the tipping point?

Corporate India has grown exponentially in the last two decades post liberalization. But have social initiatives by Corporate grown alongside? The answer is a clear no. According to a report published by Karmayog in 2008, out of the 1000 largest companies in India, around 50% DO NOT undertake any kind of CSR whatsoever.

While there may be various definitions of CSR, the best one that I have come across is “ how companies manage the business processes in order to produce an overall positive impact on society”.

Ironically, India has one of the world’s richest traditions of CSR. We have the spirit of “good karma” or “giving” intrinsically built into our coding and this has been evidenced throughout history. And corporate India has been no exception. Till two decades back, that is. Two decades back, we had the Birla’s and the Tata’s, whose ideals of nation-building and trusteeship have been alive in their day to day operations. There were also the leading Indian companies with strong international shareholdings, such as Hero Honda, HLL (Hindustan Lever Ltd), ITC, and Maruti Udyog, where local dynamics combine with the business standards of the parent or partner. The public sector such as BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd), HDFC (Housing Development Finance Corporation), NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation), and ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) have led by example- where social obligations remain an integral part of their business despite the dictat of privatization. It is only in the recent new age organizations that the systemic approach to social responsibility is lacking. ( of course there have been the Dr Reddy’s, Infosys, Ranbaxy, and Wipro, which offered a combination of positive giving plus reducing negative impact of their products on the environment- but these are only a handful)

How would CSR in India reach the “tipping point”? How to ensure that corporate top line growth takes place hand in hand with CSR Growth? This article aims to examine a few of the factors that may need correction before CSR takes off in India in a more sustained manner .

Firstly, the recognition factor as far as CSR initiatives are concerned is still below par. The media, which is a large news creator in today’s world, does not carry adequate motivational stories in this regard. Given that CSR initiatives are aimed at contributing to the society in some form or the other, due justice would come when there is a lot of visibility generated through these initiatives. And the society is made aware of these so that many more companies will come forward in this area.

Secondly, there are not adequate incentives from Government bodies to pursue CSR. For e.g. : there could be formal partnerships with local administrations , easy grant of 12A,80G etc and other fiscal incentives like tax breaks. This will help corporate houses to look at CSR from more than one angle.

Thirdly, sensitization to CSR should be made right from an earlier level. This means that business schools should include courses on CSR in their curriculum. This will ensure that the students are made knowledgeable in this area from their early days and hence keep in mind ways of incorporating CSR in their day to day working lives. This is critical because, one should not view CSR as a separate initiative undertaken in order to serve a particular local community only. It should ideally be a part of one’s way of thinking... how to take into account the other stakeholders – eg: the environment, the community citizens etc. A system needs to be built around these so that it is sustainable in the long run.

Fourthly, an overall conscious awareness drive needs to be undertaken so that various parts of the eco system are kept in the loop. Apart from the Government that can issue guidelines and incentives, there are the NGOs who can benefit from the information of which company is undertaking social initiative in which area. This can pave way for a mutually rewarding partnership. Then there are shareholders and investors who may like to view this as one criterion before investing. The transparent information in this regard will help analyze which initiative they would like to support. And last but not the least, the employees themselves would greatly feel motivated that their company is indeed participating in an effort such as this. This may end up being a very positive reinforcement for them and become a strong recruitment drive for the organization! Also, increasingly it is felt that the top talent in any company will stay with the company if they feel that they are doing “meaningful” work- and CSR goes a long way towards establishing that.

Finally, some help in identifying a CSR initiative for an organization will go a long way in any company adopting the same. The historical driver of CSR has been sheer philanthropy or a sense of ethics. But unless this ties in with the company’s core skills and strategy and hence contributes to business growth, it is not sustainable. Peter Drucker spoke about this in his article on “Strategic corporate responsibility”. For e.g.: if a company is operating in the software sector, then utilizing unemployed rural women to do transcription of documents is an extension of company’s skills as well as providing a business opportunity. Hence this could well be a CSR area. This way, both the community and the company benefit. Those companies that have been successful in identifying such CSR initiatives should come forward and share their experience. Infosys is an example of this new-age CSR. The company is utilizing its core competence in the area of technology to bring a larger good to the community. As a part of this strategy, the company along with Microsoft, launched a new program in 1998-99, called Computers@Classrooms. Under this, Infosys has donated 1185 computers to 435 institutions across India. Also Infosys is working closely with the government to conceptualize innovative ideas that has resulted in the Government of India bringing out three different plans aimed at eradicating poverty through information technology. Similarly, every company has a cause that is close to its heart. The key is to be able to find a synergy between the cause and its business skill enhancement. Some help in identifying this area will help the companies open up to CSR more willingly.

To sum up, the following are some factors that will facilitate CSR from a corporate angle :

- Media visibility of the CSR work that happens
- Government incentives in this regard
- Sensitisation of the public from an early stage such as B-School education
- Overall conscious awareness drive leading to transparent information availability –for various stakeholders to benefit from.
- Help in identifying the right CSR initiative for the organization

Nothing happens by chance- but by careful choice and planning. Therefore for CSR to cross the threshold and acquire a scale in India, succeed as a sustained initiative, it is important that the spirit of social responsibility gets ingrained into the organisation’s veins. And is taken forward through facilitators such as reward systems and review mechanisms that look at this area more systemically. So that the gene of the company begins to change over a period of time. And “corporate social responsibility” moves towards “continous social responsibility”.

Reference Sources:
1. Karmayog.org
2. India-inc.in/csr.htm
l

Written by :
Professor K Rajeshwari of Chennai Business School with inputs from Prof. Doris John, Faculty Marketing-Chennai Business School

 

ARTICLE NO. 4

 

What they don’t teach you in College….

At the outset, let me confess, this article is not about finding fault with our educational system. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It is intended to complement those aspects that our higher educational system is known to do well . Such as analytical thinking and theoretical bases . But I believe, even within the business context, these are not enough for any student to feel well equipped and confident as he steps into the professional world. There are other related aspects that he/she needs to pick up I order for him/her to be effective at work.
This article attempts to address some of those :
1. How to deal with money

As a college graduate, our initial decisions may largely be driven by money. Finding a job, zeroing on a savings or an investment plan, EMI calculations for the house etc. But we are seldom taught ‘how to deal with money’. Or even the philosophy behind money.

There should be workshops on how to deal with debt, how to read and understand contract terms, and how to reduce debt while in college. This should be accompanied by individual debt counseling to help students choose the best terms on student loans they have to open during college, adjust to tuition increases and prepare for how their loan situation will change once they graduate.

But that’s not all students should be taught in school. The average school teach students how to set budgets, rent apartments, buy cars and make other big financial decisions on an informed basis. Students should learn how to tell how much they need to live on, how to negotiate salaries and raises and how to read financial statements.

Many of these are finally a function of one’s own culture and upbringing but the framework and approach will go a long way in ensuring students have a fairly educated perspective on how to deal with money.

2. How to turn one’s passion into a career
Beyond just finding a secure job when we graduate- and some colleges’ alumni interfaces are quite good at this- there should be some emphasis on how to turn your passion into a career.
To answer this, one must first learn to discern one’s passion area. Passion is that which catches our attention all the time, but we may still be quite unaware of it from a ‘career’ perspective. It is that we spend time doing, thinking about or following in our free time. It could be sports, literature, cooking –almost anything. But to be able to turn it into our career, requires courage, self belief and discipline.
In my book titled MY LIFE MY CHOICE-on mid life career choices- I have talked about what it takes to convert passion into a career. The initial stages of doing that will be tough- as the gratification ( apart from the sheer joy of pursuing it) in terms of money or recognition maybe delayed. But you need to keep at it as it is in the area of your passion that will enjoy learning the most. In fact one of the tests of passion is how tenacious you can be while pursuing it.

Some degree programs by themselves translate better into career than others. Students going into law, medicine or technology may not need much help, but what about the student who wants to be an artist, writer or an entrepreneur? For many, the path to a truly fulfilling career is not as clear. Colleges should offer more hands one classes on how to create a career from what you really like to do. Especially, focusing on what to expect in the initial stages, how to deal with the uncertainty etc.

Many students-particularly those in the humanities- wind up in office positions that they never wanted because they cannot figure out how to translate a passion for English literature or painting into financial success. And the bug bites them later in their mid lives- when they realize that ‘money alone does not make them happy’ . It is one’s own passion that is converted into a full time job that makes you feel ‘less at work’ and hence more joy.

3. How to network
Recently I attended a course in one of the premier Institutes on ‘Networking’. It was a part of the doctoral program and I must say that I found that course the MOST RELEVANT amongst the list of courses that I had enrolled for!

After spending around 16 years in corporate life, I cannot over emphasise the need for networking as a tool to obtain success. But few of are naturally skilled at it. For others, it is a struggle. Students should realize that no matter how introverted they are, they need to stop looking at networking as an act of ‘subservience’ and start seeing it as a necessary toll that will help them get ahead in life.

Networking can taught through live projects- like obtaining information from Government authorities, understanding how decision making process flows in an organization etc. These will sensitise students that there is more to ‘real life’ professional success than the knowledge that one accumulates from text books.

4. How to set goals and manage time

By far, this is the most frequent activity that working professionals do. In fact their life revolves around it. While exams and projects try to simulate it to some extent, there has to be a further conscious effort on the colleges’ part to make students understand the importance of it.

This can be done by making students part of corporate meetings where decisions are being taken and implementations followed up. Of course this will require for the colleges to be well networked with corporate houses and this is where the Governing body or the top brass of the educational institutions play a crucial role.

‘Education’ is derived from the origin ‘educate’- meaning- ‘learn at leisure’. College life is the final stepping stone before the students embrace independent adult life. Hence a combination of identifying important issues such as the above and training students on them should be an agenda for the educational institutions. Critical thinking should be encouraged though all this for students to find answers themselves.

All these will hopefully turn out individuals who are better prepared to face the real world and take responsibility for their lives.

AUTHOR : Prof Rajeshwari

Chennai Business School

 

ARTICLE NO. 5

 

TO SERVE-WITH LOVE
The best way to find yourself is in the service of others- it is said.
The concept of doing ‘social service’ in finding self-fulfillment has gained rapid favour in recent times. In its largesse, one is made to feel that unless the cause is larger than life in which one gets absorbed in ‘serving the community’, your life is wasted.


With humility, I can say that this is certainly far from true. Without usurping freedom of ‘individual choice’, I tend to argue against the definition of ‘social service’ always being in the context of a larger than life cause- that necessitates us to do something external, detached from what we may currently be involved in. This article aims to look at options that are available to each of us, whichever profession we are in.


I take inspiration from one of the quotes of Mahatma Gandhi “ Consciously or unconsciously, everyone of us does render some service or another. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and it will make not only for our own happiness, but that of the world at large.’


Gandhi was a renowned and a great ‘social worker’ from India. And we all know that being a social worker is not easy. A social worker is someone who truly cares about people and treats them with respect and understanding without imposing his or her values. The trait that makes someone a good social worker are linked to the person that they are. You bring a lot of yourself to the job.

The last part is crucial. You need to know yourself fairly well before you take the plunge. You cannot serve other people in areas that are alien to you. Which is why, whatever you are and wherever you are , there is always an abundance of opportunity to ‘serve ‘ people. Dr Dyer – a renowned psychologist, talks about this is his famous movie- Shift’. The movie showcases slices of peoples’ lives who search for a higher meaning or purpose- and end up discovering it in opportunities to ‘serve’ those around them. It is indeed very inspiring and powerful.

Let us examine some of the variety of careers that people can embrace and how they could about discovering ‘meaning ‘ or a ‘service attitude’ among them. To understand this, first one must know the motivations of such people  that drives them in seeking ways to serve.. They typically belong to a set of either having achieved their initial set of professional goals already, either/ or –they are not motivated by money as a factor to do work. Which implies that the gratification that they seek is more personal.  Still deeper, they are probably looking to leave this earth a better place than at the time that they came in. It is called ‘legacy’ creation. The irony is that having a service attitude demands that you shed your individual ego in order to subsume it in the cause that you have undertaken to serve. But if you go into service with a legacy creation objective, then you are missing the point! Legacy should be an outcome- not the driving force of service.

We start with the corporate sector. Those who wish to do social service in this area have opportunities through Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. But even better is being more effective in your in job wherever you are- as a marketing manager by turning out better brands with higher quality that do not affect the eco system. Or as a finance manager, who can create a culture of a more transparent accounting system that will improve accountability and efficiency of a company . Through these, the individual has moved away from  just accomplishing one’s job description and has aimed to ‘make a difference’.


Moving onto teaching as a profession.  The core essence of this job is about influencing young minds . Building a relationship with the students so that they are energized to venture into the outside world with an inkling ‘make a difference’. What can be more rewarding than this? So a teacher with a ‘social mindset’ , should view his/her job as an ‘opportunity’ to influence younger generation through his/her thoughts, words and deeds. It could be just in the classroom, or through one on one mentoring or through books and articles.


The next is any medical profession. Needless to say, this is probably one of the most noble professions. The better you are as a doctor in any field of choice, the higher the chances of your ‘serving’ people better. One of the many advantages of this profession is also your ability to invent ‘new solutions’ to old problems. Prompting R@D and pharma industry to come out with new drugs is a social service in itself. Finding cure to millions of people around the world on any particular disease can be very rewarding.


Finally I take a very mundane example of a home maker. In my interaction with working women around different places and diverse background, I find that very few ‘take pride’ in their jobs of being a home maker. This is quite unfortunate. In my view, this is one role that is probably an anchor or a torch bearer to others in the family to enable them to achieve their dreams. The amount of sacrifice that a lady of the house can make has relevance in facilitating her entire family to feel stable, encourages and induces them to achieve more in their career. It is social service in a family setting.  Raising children with good values and taking care of the elderly is a great service. And to build a harmonious home in this day and age- itself is becoming a rare occurrence.


Of course having a bigger canvas to paint your ambitions on ( like politics) is considered by many to be a logical route to social service. But we must remember that service is just the opposite side of ‘power’ . In fact service is the highest manifestation of love. Each one can make his or her own choice of ‘service’ based on what they love doing that can be of use to others. Based on one’s natural inclinations, talents and strengths. Especially since in service,  your tangible gratification factors are going to be limited, only this approach will give you the tenacity to persist in the area that you wish to ‘serve’ in. So one has to make the choice carefully.


Far from sounding simplistic, I hope this article gives you a perspective on how to ‘find a service attitude’ within your own job context. I end with a quote by Marter Luther King "Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." 
Good luck! May you find your area of service soon.

Author- Prof Dr Rajeshwari K
Chennai Business School.

 

 

ARTICLE NO. 6

 

 

 


NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT –Factors affecting outcome


New product development is one of the biggest areas that contribute to the continued success of any organization.  A ‘new product’ is defined as one that falls into one of the below categories:

  • A product that addresses a completely new user segment e.g. : vacuum cleaners when they were launched
  • A product that re- configures/ improves an existing usage of a product e.g. : I pod versus walkman
  • A product that may bring in new user segment e.g. : male’s fairness creams


There are many factors that contribute to the success of new product development in an organization.


Eco- system of new product development


The author who has done the most research in this area is Robert Cooper. He has published around 30 articles on this subject in the last 30 years. But all his work covers new product development in the area of industrial goods in developed countries. The findings however, can be adapted to any country from a process point of view.
According to Cooper, there are four broad areas that affect new product outcomes in any organization:
 

Each of the above four factors in turn has a set of variables that has the potential to affect the outcome.
Of the four factors, there is a lot of interest generated in the academic community about ‘Organizational culture/ climate’.  This article focuses on summarizing the leanings available in this area- that can be further researched and adapted to the Indian context.


How does organizational climate affect new product results?
There are three aspects to an organizational climate that has a bearing on the new product outcome:
**First and foremost- the teams in action.


Top performing businesses embrace a true team approach to New Product Development, they 
field  high-quality teams that are cross-functional in nature :
A high-quality team means that:
• The team leader is dedicated to this one project (as opposed to trying to lead many projects, or having many other assignments).
• The team interacts and communicated effectively and frequently, with project update meetings, progress reviews, and problem resolution sessions. The best teams are those that have short but weekly meetings to ensure that the entire team was up to speed.
• Decisions made by outsider groups or people (outside the team) are handled quickly and efficiently. This is usually the result of well thought out team actions. For example, the team is able to do whatever internal marketing, communication and influencing that is necessary to get outsiders on the bus and to deliver quick, resourceful decisions.


A cross-functional team means that:

• All projects have a defined and accountable team leader—a person who is responsible for taking forward the project.
• Project leaders are responsible for the project from the beginning till the end (as opposed to being responsible for only one phase of a project, or having project ownership changing hands many times during a project’s life).
• All projects need to have an assigned team of players, who worked on specific projects.
• These assigned players, who executed projects, typically need to be a cross-functional team—from R&D, Marketing, Manufacturing, Logistics, Engineering, etc.
More than just having a cross functional team, a team with high quality produces positive impact on the new product process.

** Secondly the role of senior management:


In top-performing businesses, there is a positive climate and culture for innovation; the leadership team of the business actively supports this environment with words, deeds and resource commitments, and senior management is engaged in the decision making process in the right way. Organizations where senior managements are highly involved in new products are those where:

• Senior management is strongly committed to new products and product development.
• Management has committed the necessary resources to achieve the firm’s new product goals.
• Senior management is closely involved in the project Go/Kill and new product spending decisions—
they have a central role in the new product project review process.


** Thirdly fostering an Innovative climate and culture:


Organizations that encourage innovation have the following:
• There is a new product idea scheme within the business unit, which solicits ideas from all employees.
• Technical people are given free time, scouting time or time off to work on projects of their own choice.
Typically this is between 10 and 20 percent of the work week. Very few however end up exercising this choice.
• Resources are made available to employees so that they could informally advance their own projects or undertake creative work of their own choice. Such resources often included seed money for technical
research, raising funds for unapproved projects, etc.
• Mini creative ventures or teams working on unofficial projects are to be encouraged.
• New product performance is a part of senior management’s personal performance objectives.
• Senior management’s compensation or bonus scheme is to be tied to the business unit’s new product performance.

To summarise, the above three factors- teams, senior management’s role and a climate of innovation within an organization go a long way in increasing the probability of success in any new product development process.
They can be tested in the Indian context with any particular industry and if the learnings are made available to the marketing practitioners in India , it would help them immensely to improve their NPD processes and hence the outcomes.